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DID YOU READ

In praise of ZODIAC MOTHERFUCKER.

In praise of ZODIAC MOTHERFUCKER. (photo)

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This year’s top tens are arriving in the double-barrel barrage of both the year and decade. And in these trying times of redundancy and the self-righteous promotion of one’s own taste as the ultimate truth, we need a hero. We need someone who says what they mean and is clear on it while also being entertaining. We need, in short, someone like ZODIAC MOTHERFUCKER.

For those of you who don’t read the Onion‘s AV Club on a regular basis, ZMF is a sort of mascot, punching bag and the best. Commenter. Ever.

Essentially, he is (or claims to be, and he’s been way too consistent for way too long for me to doubt him) a guy from the Midwest who loves the heaviest of metal (Slayer are his gods) and the most violent of film. He writes in all caps and spends a lot of time telling various haters to get off his dick. A major criteria for what he loves is “ownage,” in which violence isn’t just extreme but assertive and possessive. And, within these criteria, he’s shockingly on point, discriminating not one bit on levels of arty presumption or genre. He’s actually pretty open-minded.

For instance, this year ZMF is all about “The Hurt Locker” : “THE LOCKER FUCKING OWNS AND EVERYBODY HERE IS ASSIGNED TO SEE IT I AM MANDATING THAT SHIT SO WHEN THIS SHIT COMES TO DOUCHBAG WISCONSIN OR BITCHASS TEXAS OR WHEREVER THE FUCK YOU ALL LIVE YOU WILL GO SEE THE LOCKER […] TOTAL FUCKING OWNAGE BITCH AND YOU WILL GET OWNED WAR IS AWESOME AND THE LOCKER IS AWESOME.”

Beyond that he was most pumped for “Crank 2” — which he loved so much he did a commentary for — and Neveldine/Taylor’s underrated follow-up “Gamer,” a movie I liked as well. “I AM HERE TO REPORT THAT NEVELDINE AND TAYLOR ARE THE FUCKING FUTURE OF MOVIES,” ZMF exulted, which is at least as succinct and pointed as what The Auteurs Notebook had to say about it.

His track record for the last two years is just as solid. In 2008, he top ten’d “The Dark Knight” and “Funny Games” as one and two, without caring one whit about Michael Haneke’s pretensions. He even found room for Stuart Gordon’s underrated “Stuck” at number four. True, the list also included “Saw V” and “Body of Lies,” but the point here is that ZMF recognizes violence and doesn’t care about pretension — or, more importantly, what might be perceived as pretension, which is more than can be said for many critics.

In 2007, he was on point about the Oscar nominations: “GONE BABY GONE GETTING ONE JACKOFF NOMINATION AND NO NOMINATIONS FOR ZODIAC. WHAT THE FUCK? YOU WANNA TELL ME THAT SOME WACK AS FUCK MOVIE ABOUT SOME DUMB BITCH GETTING KNOCKED UP IN HIGH SCHOOL IS BETTER, FUCK ALL THAT.” And he was right!

He’s also exhibited some detailed knowledge of movies going back at least to the ’70s, as when he recently chastised an errant AV Club writer by positing a sort of cultural education which would end with her ” WRITING WALTER HILL FANMAIL AND SHIT AND WATCHING DEVILS REJECTS ELEVEN TIMES IN A WEEKEND.” More people should talk about both Walter Hill and “The Devils Rejects.”

ZMF is hilarious, and his taste isn’t bad when he leaves the “Saw” playpen. Would I prefer this to Armond White’s ideology-before-criticism stance? Yes. Yes, I would. Would I vastly prefer it to the doddering voices propping up movies like “Precious” and “An Education” and so on? Oh, absolutely. Own or be owned: godspeed, ZMF.

[Photos: “The Devil’s Rejects,” Lions Gate Entertainment, 2005; “Stuck,” THINKFilm, 2008]

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.